tv [untitled] October 6, 2010 6:00am-6:30am PST
funders of this program. it took a lot of patience. this is the kind of program we want to be involved in. a lot of collaboration and very broad support from the community. i think the people here to speak for the project will cover some of that ground. long ago, as part of the 1934 agreement, the puc did provide some funding for projects like this in the area. there was a very large flood. timing is everything. as a consequence, lots of landowners came forward with proposals to have their land protected with easements and acquisition. many of those projects have happened in the last 14 years. this is another opportunity. this is one of the largest ones in terms of size and dollar value, and maybe in benefit because of its location
downstream. the refuge has already been a major player under the federal law. this is the area that the salmon migrate up and down from. as such, it is part of the heart of the san joaquin valley. i think there are some folks that would like to talk as well about the project. i would be happy to answer questions if there are any. vice president vietor: what is on the land right now? is it cadillacs -- cattle? >> i will let the sponsors talk about it. it is a tough area to be at the confluence of the two rivers. vice president vietor: the reason i asked the question is
because the river is right there. if there is cattle grazing, i worry about what is going to happen to the river. >> i think the project sponsors can speak to the current and feature plans. there is cattle raising around properties, and there has been in these areas. they manage that very much to avoid those kinds of problems. i do not think that is a plan in the future given the easement that will be put in place for the area. vice president vietor: as you know, we have had problems in the past. i just want to make sure. >> there are people better able to speak on this than i am. president crowley: now we are on to public comment. >> we have two speaker cards. >> my name is john carlin.
i am here today to request your support for the dos rios acquisition. the short answer is there are not kept all right now. it is all infield and grow crops, things like alfalfa and tomatoes. there is going to be another person that is going to come up after me and talk more specifically about the property, but what i would like to do is try to frame the context of this acquisition and why we are so excited about it until it is important property. first, and mr. ramirez touched on this, it is a model of partnership. the money from san francisco puc would join with the national resource conservation service, the u.s. fish and wildlife service, the department of water resources, the wildlife conservation board, and three
other non profits that are working together to close this acquisition. one additional bit of information is that we have had conversations with the executive director of the wildlife conservation board who are interested in closing that last $5 million gap. but this point, if this is able to pass, we will be in place to close the deal. the second thing is just in the context of other statewide initiatives. this project is centro and release support all the restoration efforts that are under way on me -- ithis project is central and will support all the restoration efforts that are underway on the san
joaquin. we are looking at other structures. from a conservation perspective, this has potential to restore 1,600 acres of habitat. 95% of that is gone in the state of california. it is some of the richest wildlife habitat in the state, harboring many different endangered species and other critically important wildlife. the other part is it is also a really important wildlife corridor. if you think of thesepao riverss highways, it would be the left turn up for salmon and steelhead migrating up the area. it attracts wildlife from as far away as the arctic circle8- and
argentina. it is incredibly important. in the context of climate change, important potential. $;÷lelá up and down the slope. gñiç'%úó isr wildlife. it has great public use potential in a critically underserved community and has been identified as state parks -- by state parks as a high priority acquisition. i urge your support and thank you for your consideration. president crowley: next speaker, please. >> thank you. my name is patrick capotcoppel.
i want to thank the commission for considering the project and also to the staff for all the hard work they have put into the project and bringing it before the commission today. i am really pleased to see the commission considering this project. as mr. carlin and mr. ramirez before me described, this is an exemplary project. it is very rare to find a piece of land of this size under single ownership in the central valley, and particularly along to of the largest rivers in the -- along two of the largest rivers in the san joaquin valley, which provides 80% of the water consumed by san francisco and mthe bawsca
community. there has been quite a bit of effort into salmon restoration on the lower tuolumne river. this supports those earlier efforts and advances them further by improving habitat along 3 miles of river front and an additional 3 miles on the san joaquin river. beyond salmon, this will add to the national one life refuge which has been key for rde- listing the canada goose, which had been very endangered not long ago. this is one of very few animals in the country that has seen
this kind of success. we hope you will see that with other species including the field had trapped -- fieldhead trout. this will filter any runoff before it enters the river itself and will improve recreational opportunities for folks throughout central california, including the bay area and modesto. it is only 90 minutes away. i want to encourage you to support the project and thank you for talking through the project today. president crowley: any questions? i will entertain a motion to fund. vice president vietor: i have a question. i have been having a problem understanding -- shut that thing off. >> sorry. vice president vietor: help me
understand why we are acquiring this land. i mean, are we in the business to acquire lands for wildlife preserves ta? >> in this case, we are going to provide less than 10% of the funding for it to be protected long term, in perpetuity. our role is finite. hopefully, that deal will complete. we are providing some of the energy to make it happen. i think that it is in our long- term interest to do what we can to protect the lower as well as the upper river because of its ongoing relationship with the valley, the irrigation districts, and the resources in the valley. this is part of thatokz that we are.
>> in 2006, the commission adopted a watershed improvement program and said we would spend $50 million over the next 10 years to look for sites like this and other things we could paçó that we may have a connection to remember. >> this is $2 million of 50. we do not end up acquiring it, but we end up spending money to >> we put our outreach program across all of our watershed lands. if this was a joining one of our pieces of property, we would be bringing this forward as a free title acquisition for the puc because of our existing
responsibilities in that area. in this case, we do not manage any land that is in the lower river, but we do want to see if protected. the general manager made reference that it was part of the commitment that was made almost six years ago. i think you were here them. it has taken this long for us to bring one of these projects to you, so i am glad we got this question. it reminds all of us how hard it is to make these things happen. we talked about the watershed program being a land program only. over time, it became a little more broad. these are the things we hope to do is still in our local watersheds on the peninsula and in alameda, but this happens to be the first one we could bring to the commission. vice president vietor: that is correct. i do remember now, but i have obviously forgotten. i see that river partners is a 5 01 c three.
what is their pursuit exactly? >> i am not sure. i can tell you from the broadest perspective that the fish and wildlife service has its property within its boundaries for the refuge. we would be talking about them taking title to the land. the cannot do that without congressional authorization. we are trying to build a bridge to the future. if the bridge is never built, the partners can manage that. but because of its surrounding neighboring landscapes and property ownership, i think that probably would be the ideal situation for everybody. the cannot do that without congress acting. -- they cannot do that without congress acting. that has been discussed many times since the flood. it would not surprise me if that happened again. vice president vietor: help me understand why they are deemed
a 501c3. >> federal tax code. vice president vietor: i understand what it is. >> i do not know why they have that certification. >> river partners is a 501c3 non-profit public benefit commission. we want to restore habitat for the benefit of people in the environment. the reason we are involved in this acquisition is because our core business is to try to acquire important conservation properties and then restore those properties back into productive world wide use. this is a critical located piece of property at the confluence of two rivers, but it has been formed for 70 years, maybe
longer. if we are able to put this deal together, we would acquire the property, manage it in agriculture in the short term for one or two years, and then work to restore the property back into habitat -- go out and plant trees to create the habitat for wildlife. we feel really confident in that endeavor because right across the river we saw on the map earlier were the national wildlife refuge is, we have just completed about 2,000 acres of habitat restoration on that side, and we have had some great response by wildlife. there is a migratory songbird which had not been seen nesting in the central valley in 60 years. it came back and build a nest in some of the forested areas we
had planted. we think this is an amazing opportunity. we do not see ourselves as a long-term manager. additionally, we would like to see a portion of this property go to state parks because these are underserved communities when you look at state park maps and their plans. the central valley of california has less state park land per capita than anywhere else in the state. this would provide 6 miles of river front to folks that are hard pressed to get to a state park now. we are looking at a balance between conservation values protected with the refuge as well as public access and public use that can be managed by state parks. vice president vietor: thank you. that is a very clear answer. president crowley: how long has river partners been a 501c3?
>> 12 years. president crowley: in that time, how many projects have you been involved with? >> we have 67 current projects. i do not have an accurate count of how many total. we have an office and staff in modesto. when we have a project in san diego, one at sinaloa in arizona. the bulk of our work is in the central valley. >> at that time, heavy transition or sold to state parks any of those parcels of land? >> what happened was we received state funding from the wildlife conservation board to acquire properties exactly like this. we convert those properties and transition them to state parks. there are two properties now in
the state parks system that we used to own and manage, but at no cost to the state. president crowley: thank you very much. vice president vietor: i would like to move the item forward. commissioner caen: second. i know these are large projects. i want to thank all of the work. these are not easy projects. if this does move forward, i want to thank and congratulate all the partners. commissioner moran:txñ and one o support this as well. that is that you referred to the ferc we committed to doing some repair and improvements with the thinking that as far as what can be done on the lower tuolumne,
there are things we can do and that we can not. the hardest thing for us is to contribute water. the easier thing is to invest in either streambed operations or repairing a corridor. this is consistent with that kind of thinking process. is there a recent annual report on the program? >> we do annual postings on our public website. for the summaries, and we hope to provide a more detailed report for the fiscal year and bring it to the commission, a think we are scheduled to do that before the end of the calendar year. i am not sure when. commissioner moran: one thing i would be interested in looking at when that does come forward is the anticipated allocation of
money and effort into types of acquisitions. this is not really a watershed acquisition. it is not part of our watershed. it is impact area. but i would be interested in seeing how much is of this nature and how much of it would be in various watershed areas as far as what we are planning going forward. >> we are happy to provide that information, and we do have it. i want to thank you for your comments about the past investments that were made by the puc and want to echo this very quickly. it is really important to acknowledge the benefits. 16 years ago, that decision was made, and it is still providing benefits. it takes that long for the community and landowners to see something like this go forward, to see they can do it. we have been very fortunate overtime to have this whole area
explode with opportunities. we are hoping to tell stories just like that on the lme the side. -- the alameda side. v>:it hask,+ to this point, but i am excited. presidenta&ñiñçóñi crowley: thal for answering our questions. there is a motion on the floor that has been item 15. all those in favor? ayes have it. [applause] >> item 16, discussion and possible action to authorize the general manager to approve the extension of the term that certain easement and license agreements related to the 66 inch sewage force may not relocation between the city and county of san francisco, colp,
and locil-d focil-mb to exercisn option to extend the term of that is meant. we have no speaker cards. president crowley: there is a motion to adopt 16. all those in favor? the ayes have it. >> item 17, discussion and possible action to approve the plans and specifications and award water enterprise, water system improvement program wd- 2601 in the amount of $99 million to the lowest qualified responsive and responsible bidder, kiewit infrastructure
west company, to provide construction contract work for seismic and hydraulic upgrades t]ñ%3 sprinn andreas transmission system. president crowley: we move to adopt. all those in favor? the ayes have it. >> item 18 -- >> is only a $100 billion contract, but thank you for your action on that. commission president to execute an employment contract with ed harrington as general manager on behalf of the city and county of san9%m5+v#3ñrñi francisco. president crowley: item 18? vice president vietor: second.
possible action authorizing the general manager of the san francisco public utilities commission to execute an employment contract with harlan kelly, assistant general manager for infrastructure, on behalf of the city and county of san francisco. documents have been and are on file. president crowley: item 19, we have no speaker cards. any questions from anybody before we go? properly moved and properly seconded. all those in favor, please signify by saying aye. the ayes have it. >> the next session is hour closed session item. if you would assert a motion to attorney-client privilege, i will read the items and then we can go into closed session.
president crowley: any public comment on anything in closed session? hearing and seeing none, a motion is before us. it has been moved and seconded. the ayes have it. >> item 22 -- threat to public services and facilities pursuant to5ió the california government code. item 23 -- the conference with legal counsel with regard to a clai